Tell people you’re running a marathon, and the conversation often works it’s way around to the following statement-come-question: “You’re doing a marathon? Wow, you must really love running.”
And here’s the honest answer I give.
I… don’t know.
Honestly, I don’t. Well, I think I probably do. I suppose I must. I do enough of it.
But do I really love running? Really? Do I actually love the process of running? Here’s the thing.
I love what running has done for me.
I love that running means I’m two-thirds of the man I used to be (weight-wise, at least…).
I love that I’ve turned out to be surprisingly good at running.
I love that running means I’m spending more time outdoors.
I love the feeling of anticipation before the start of a race.
I love the satisfying feeling of completing a long, tough run or race.
I love the excitement and challenge of trying to run faster and further.
I love the atmosphere on the course during a race.
I love setting myself goals and targets, and then matching or exceeding them.
I love the fact I now feel worse on the days when I don’t go running than on the days I do.
I love the fact running has given me the chance to give something back to the South West Children’s Heart Circle (yes, it’s a London Marathon sponsorship plug!)
I love all those things about running.
So yeah, when you put it like that… I guess I must love running.
But then again…
Do I really love forcing myself outdoors on cold, wet, dark nights to go running?
Do I love having to push myself to go running on days when my legs are already aching?
Do I love the aching muscles that come in the days following long, tough runs?
Do I love the hurt that comes with trying to push myself to go as fast as I can in the final part of a race?
Do I love forcing myself out of bed early on weekends to fit runs in?
Do I love running up long, steep hills?
Do I love running into brutal headwinds?
Do I love the empty, energy-draining feeling that comes during a tough run when I realise I’m not going to get near my PB?
When you put it like that… Do I actually love the process of putting one foot in front of the other and running – or do I really just love the effects of running?
I don’t know.
And that’s why, when people ask whether I love running, my honest answer is… I don’t know.
But then… The weather forecast for this weekend is cold and wet. Perfect weather to stay indoors. And where will I be?
Out running. Why? Because that’s what I want to be doing.
And would I be out there if I didn’t actually love running?
Previous running FAQ: So, how’s the training going?
Whether I actually love running or not, I’m running the 2016 London Marathon to raise money for the South West Children’s Heart Circle. It’s an incredibly worthy cause, and any support would be greatly appreciated. You can sponsor me by clicking the big Just Giving button below.